How to String a Ukulele

Learn how to string a ukulele from music teacher Jarret Delos Santos in this Howcast video.

Aloha, my name is Jarret Delos Santos and I was born and raised in a little town called Hana on the east side of Maui. Playing the ukulele and teaching the ukulele gives me a chance to perpetuate our culture. So today, we’re going to be talking about the ukulele. OK, we’re going to learn how to change your strings which is usually the thing that most people are most afraid of. And it’s very, very easy. I’m going to change just one string on this concert ukelele and you do it by first loosening your strings down. So you just kind of just make it go flat on you and you’re going to loosen up enough to kind of lift the strings over the nuts here at the top. And then you want to take if off there and you also want to take it off from here at the bottom. They’re just tied on. This is where the fingernail clippers come in handy. And they clip fight off real easy an clean. And there are many different varieties of strings to use. I’m going to use aquilla strings. These are white strings. And usually when you buy the strings they will tell you which…there’s a legend which will tell you which strings go where on the ukelele. I’m just going to change my last string, or A string. What you want to do is put it through the hole, want to loop it around here. You’re going to create a little loop. You know, twist it about 2 ¬Ω to 3 times and you’re going to get other end here. You’re going to put it through, you know, pull it and secure it. You’re going to make sure that knot is at the very base. You pull it up here. You’re going to want to wind it around here. Kind of look at all your other strings and how, which way they’re facing. A lot of times if you’re really new at it, you want to take notes. You know, go ahead and get a piece of paper and kind of write down how everything is turned. It makes things a lot easier in case you’ve got to go back for reference. But usually what I do, I put it on the head and I keep tension on it and I wrap it a couple times all the way up to the hole where you put the string through and pull it through the hole. If you think that it’s going to slip and you’re not comfortable with that, you can put it through the hole one more time and you’re going to tune up on it. You’re going to tighten it. Don’t worry about this extra string. And in fact, you don’t want to cut your strings right away just in case it slides or there’s some problems that you have to undo the strings. So for now, you kind of just want to leave it alone. And then you’re tuning it up. Going to use my electronic tuner and clip it on there. And I’m looking for an A,. For right now it’s flat and I’m tuning up to it. Takes a little bit. And the tuner says that I’m at A. And that’s how you would tune it and put in a new string. One thing about new strings is that new strings will not hold its tone. Um, you, sometimes pulling on it will help stretch the strings. But when you put new strings on, you will continuously have to tune it, ah, for a little bit until the string is stretched out and has acclimated to it being pulled. And you should be changing your strings often. Ah, some people tend to leave it on too long and that’s when you start hearing dead sounds, ah, not full ringing sounds. You’d be surprised when you put new strings on how beautiful your instrument will sound when, when you have new strings on there.